Dell Moves Consumer Advertising to Y&R

Account is back in WPP fold

Dell is moving its consumer advertising back into the WPP Group fold: Young & Rubicam will now handle the business awarded to Sid Lee some 15 months ago. The Montreal independent had won the account from Y&R’s Wunderman, N.Y., unit in early 2011.

The transfer is expected to happen in the second half of the year. A Dell rep confirmed the move but declined to comment on whether the shift came after consideration of other agencies. “This reflects a new marketing organization and priorities and is a way to better drive synergies between consumer marketing and brand alignment from Y&R,” he said.

WPP's Y&R was Dell’s global agency for brand work. The rep confirmed Paul-Henri Ferrand, who worked with Sid Lee as CMO for consumer and small/medium business segments, is no longer in that role. Ferrand is now based in Singapore as a global vp and general manager of a new Dell business software and peripherals unit. Allison Dew has taken over as the new vp, marketing for Dell's global consumer business.

The shift to Y&R is an about turn for the Round Rock, Texas-based computer giant. Dell launched a creative review in the fall of 2010 as its three-year multi-billion dollar contract with WPP was nearing its end and the marketer sought outside ideas after the collapse of Enfatico, the holding company’s dedicated agency for Dell.

With the demise of Enfatico, Dell’s advertising was folded into Y&R in 2009. While the outcome of Dell’s creative review added outside agencies like Sid Lee, the company kept Y&R in the global brand role. Dell also selected Minneapolis independent Barrie D’Rozario Murphy to handle the company’s public business and Havas’ Arnold, Boston, for small and mid-size business work. Those assignments are unchanged. At the time of the review the three pieces of business that moved outside WPP were estimated to generate $30 million in revenue.

Last July, Sid Lee, which handles most of Adidas’ worldwide creative, launched its first work for the PC marketer, using the tag “More you” to position Dell as a lifestyle brand. The message behind “More you” sought to create an emotional bond with consumers.

At the time, Dell said that while just 20 percent of its business came from the consumer segment, as opposed to remainder from enterprise users, the consumer segment was growing very well, particularly in emerging markets. However, in the first quarter, PC sales weakened at Dell: The global PC market grew 2.3 percent in the period, according to research firm IDC. At Dell, however, market share fell 2.1 percent to 11.6 percent, falling behind Lenovo at 13.4 percent and HP at 18 percent. According to IDC, Dell posted gains in the Europe, the Middle East and Africa regions but “faced tough competition and had sizeable declines in some markets as its growth in Asia/Pacific slowed after more than a year of double-digit gains.”